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Shabbat Parashat Tzav 5777

Ein Ayah: Matza

(condensed from Olat Reiyah, Rav Kooks Commentary on the Haggada)

It is a poor man’s bread, and it is made in haste (chipazon). These are the two main aspects of matza. The decision to take Am Yisrael out in haste was done by the divine will and planning, in order to raise the nation up in an unnatural way, leaving out the usual developments of a nation in an orderly fashion. For every nation develops and is shaped slowly until it reaches its physical and spiritual pinnacle.

However Am Yisrael, whose prodigious strengths and greatness were dormant in Egypt due to repression and the immorality of the place, were taken out in a rushed manner. This brought their latent potential into reality, whereby they were transformed from a slave nation into a nation with a lofty and godly culture, into a holy nation fitting for divine stewardship, for greater light … for the Torah of truth.

Here the nation was born, and Hashem did so in such a manner to create a strong nation. For in this way there would not be any mingling of different cultures, and all of the impressions that they experienced in Egypt would no longer affect them. And for those who were spiritually influenced by Egypt, by the time the Korban Pesach was slaughtered, they had renounced this culture completely. In this way, Hashem was able to impress His own form on the nation and create an unadulterated foundation of the nation.

Hashem alone will guide us, and no strange god will be with Him. If Am Yisrael would have developed only through Hashem’s stimulus without being influenced by the surrounding cultures, there would not have been a need to take us out in haste. We would have developed, stage by stage, going from one level to the next until we were able and ready to receive the Torah. However, since every other culture would have negatively impacted our ability to develop in a holy manner, it was never possible that we would have been able to develop in a step-by-step manner. Therefore we were similar to matza, which has no flavor or shape of its own, in order that we could receive all the “flavors” that Hashem would heap upon us. Therefore, this is the meaning of “Hashem taking us out (motzi),” removing us from the other nations of the world.

It was an absolute dependence that caused the matza – the lack of step-by-step development and an utter removal of any foreign impressions in the nature of the nation. Hashem is our King; Hashem is the one who formed us; and Hashem is our savior! 
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